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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor;


Sensible Safety Tips for Horse & Rider  

— On & Off the Trail


August 2012 issue


      RMR asked each of the following experienced horse trainers what they would advise as a tip to folks — novice or experienced — when heading out on the trail … or for any ride.


Dean Briggs Quarter Horse Breeder and Trainer.

      “One of the biggest potentials for accidents involves trailering your horse to and from the trail. I see more and more wrecks involving tying and untying horses in trailers.

      “If a horse is tied solid and they hang back, they have no place to go except into the person tying or untying them.
      “For example, when tying a horse in a slant load, I load the horse, run the lead rope through the ring in its position in the trailer and then tie it to the next ring down. That way I can tie or untie each horse from a much safer distance.”

Dean Briggs. Briggs Quarter Horses. Whitehall , MT. 406-287-3670.


Val and Jay Walker — Missouri Foxtrotter Breeders and Trainers.

      “A good experienced, calm mountain horse can save your life while trail riding. On the other hand, if an inexperienced rider is paired with an inexperienced horse, a disaster can happen.

      “The person furnishing the horse, should know its ability and experience and should be the one to pair it with the experience level of a rider. They should take that responsibility seriously — it is better to not go riding at all if the pairing is not good.”

Val and Jay Walker. Shining Mountain Foxtrotters. Lovell , WY . 307-548-6353.


Maggie Epperson —Horse Training and Riding Lessons.

      “If you don’t have a solid basics with your horse, you won’t have a good trail ride. Horses are not like dirt bikes and you cannot expect to have a well-mannered horse after you’ve ‘parked it in the shed in the fall and pulled it out in the springtime.’

      “Make sure your horse is flexible and establish that you are the leader; then you are not fighting your horse all the time. If your basics are followed, and your horse is tuned-up correctly, you then have respect and an enjoyable ride.”

Maggie Epperson. Havens Stable. Trout Creek, MT. 406-552-3373 or



Tricia Purcell —Horse Training and Riding Lessons.

      “Conditioning is very important. I advise short trail rides a couple of times a week to lead up to an all-day or longer ride.

      “I also make sure to check shoes and to take along some emergency footwear such as Easy-boots, or even duct tape. Tape won’t last long but it will get you through in a pinch.”

Tricia Purcell. Purcell Performance Horses. Helena, MT. 406-465-8719


Rockey Lynn —Quarter Horse Breeder and Trainer.

      “I train a lot of two-year-olds on the trail and I like to ride them alone so that they do not get to depend upon another horse —and that also instills confidence.

      “I try to make sure that they never get hurt or afraid. We start out slow and easy and then go on to more and more difficult terrain.”

Rockey Lynn. Lynns Quarter Horses. Corvallis , MT. 406-381-0262 or



Rick Peverley — Idaho outfitter for 18 years, Selway & Middle Fork of Salmon River . Farrier for 40 years.

      “Make sure your saddle & tack properly fits your horse. The saddle should fit the withers and kidneys, and the cinch should be back far enough that it won’t sore him. Consider using a crupper or britching if you’re riding in mountainous terrain.

      “If you are packing, do not tie solid when tying your pack horses to each other. Use a breakaway string, so if one goes off the trail, the others don’t get dragged after him.

      “The horse should be well-shod, with level and balanced hooves. I prefer a wide-web shoe (sometimes known as an “eventer”), which is part plate and part rim. It will protect their feet better.”

Rick Peverley. RLP Auctions. Hamilton, MT. 406-369-2640.


Tish Roberts – Dun in Color Quarter Horses & RMR Advertising Consultant.

      “I’m thinking ‘safety first.’ Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Check your trailer — tire air pressure, tail lights working, pull up your mats and look for floorboard wear, examine hitch for wear.

      “My trail riding checklist includes (but is not limited to) these items: Leather strings and duct tape for repairs; halter & lead rope; water; leg boots; fly repellent; a first-aid kit which contains both aspirin for me and banamine for my horse; a map; a hat or helmet; cell phone; knife; hoof pick; and pen and paper.”


Alice Trindle—Horsemanship Clinician.

“I love trail riding, but there seems to be one consistent thread that defines accidents on the trail. The element that is present involves the human becoming complacent, and not preparing themselves and the horse for the unexpected. If you asked me to give you one BIG suggestion, it would be to learn how to execute a ‘straight-line’ stop or ‘Cavalry’ stop. Then make sure everyone in your group also knows this valuable safety tool.”

Alice Trindle. T&T Horsemanship . Haines , OR . 541-856-3356.


Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor;


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